06 June 2016 by Phil Pickin
With the summer weather now upon us (well, the sun is shining at the time of writing anyway) there’s never been a better time to get outside to explore and enjoy the outdoors. And with this thought in mind, two of the UK’s largest conservation charities have organised events to make the most of the longer, and hopefully warmer, days.
Take the challenge
The Wildlife Trusts are setting us a challenge to do something wild every day for a month during June. Their ‘30 days wild’ campaign sounds like quite an ask, but the scope is wide – ranging from wild camping to simply switching off your mobile so you can listen to the dawn chorus undisturbed. They have a whole website full of suggestions, so even if you are working or busy you can still do something.
The RSPB too is organising the Big Wild Sleepout over the weekend of the 29-31 July, aiming to encourage families especially to build a den or camp in their own garden. There will also be events taking place at many RSPB reserves in the hope of bringing families closer to nature and grabbing the imagination of the next generation of naturalists.
Although the RSPB suggests sleeping out in your own garden, there is nothing stopping anyone from using this type of event as a springboard to engage with the nature on their own patch. A bit of wild camping can be included within a walk in many areas of Britain, and you don’t have to be Ray Mears to do it. Some of our National Parks allow wild camping (i.e. no site or facilities) and with a little research online you can find the areas where responsible camping is allowed. In Scotland there is the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which gives anyone the right to wild camp – that’s assuming you follow the rules.
Get closer to nature
Wild camp on Pen y Geuallt by John Horner
Anyone who has ever camped will know how the act of living close to nature helps you relax and become more in tune with the wildlife you share your camp with. Wild camping takes that experience to a new level and opens up the opportunities to see and experience nature up close and personal. Expeditions need not be for extended periods. Even an overnight stay can make a walk out into the countryside something special and allow you to see the natural world in a different way.
So why not make the most of the summer weather? Do some research online and combine some new walks with some wild camping in areas that allow it. Take binoculars and even a small magnifying glass if you can, so that it doesn’t matter if the subject is miles away or right under your nose you can get a closer look. A small guidebook can also help to ID what you’ve seen. Above all, enjoy the experience!
Magazine of the Ramblers